Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Advisory Council


Bonnie Bader is the former Associate Publisher of Frederick Warne, where she oversaw the Peter Rabbit and Spot publishing programs, as well as the former Editor-in-Chief of Penguin Young Readers/Early Readers. She is currently the SCBWI Publishing Advisor.
Tracy Barrett was the Midsouth Regional Advisor for ten years and is now SCBWI’s Regional Advisor Coordinator for the United States. She is the author of numerous books for young readers, including the award-winning biographical novel, Anna of Byzantium. Her most recent publications are Marabel and the Book of Fate, Freefall Summer, and The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard. She has been awarded the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds a B.A. with Honors in Classics from Brown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Nashville, TN.
Priscilla Burris is an author/illustrator, gratefully serving the SCBWI as the Illustrator Programs Consultant as well as Portfolio Showcase Director for the winter and summer International Conferences.  Priscilla is the illustrator for the Heidi Heckelbeck, Henry Heckelbeck, and the Humphrey’s Tiny Tales series. Recent books include Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Michael Genhart, 1-2-3 My Feelings and Me by Goldie Millar and Lisa Berger, Natsumi! by Susan Lendroth, and Hello School!, which she wrote and illustrated.
Dana Carey is an author/illustrator. She has served SCBWI France as Assistant Regional Advisor organizing webinars, writer/illustrator retreats, regional conferences, and workshops. As International Illustrator Coordinator, she advises SCBWI Illustrator Coordinators in regions outside the US. Dana also assists in the organization of the Portfolio Showcases for the International Winter and Summer Conferences. Each month, Dana interviews illustrators for The Postcard Post for the Sub It Club, a support group for authors and illustrators in the submission process.
Christopher Cheng‘s most recent publications (created from his dining room table) include the picture books One Tree (illus. Bruce Whatley), Python (illus. by Mark Jackson), and New Year Surprise! (illus. by Di Wu) and also the libretto for the children’s musical Pa’s Christmas Star. He wrote the storyline for a twenty-six part television animation series and was awarded the Lady Cutler Award for Services to Children’s Literature. He is an ambassador for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature as well as the federal government’s Australia Day Ambassador programme. He dwells with his wife in an inner-city terrace in Sydney Australia. More about Christopher at his website
Lesa Cline-Ransome has written numerous picture book biographies on notable figures such as Frederick Douglass, Helen Keller, Satchel Paige and Louis Armstrong and her books have garnered honors including A Jane Addams Honor, A Christopher Award, an NAACP Image Award, Kirkus Best Book,  A Kids’ Indie Next Pick and an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet received a Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration.  Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, was the 2019 winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor.  Lesa is the host of the KidLit TV show Past Present. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband, and frequent collaborator, James Ransome. Visit her at her website
Bruce Coville is the author of over a hundred books for children and young adults, including My Teacher is an Alien, Into the Land of the Unicorns, and Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher. His books have appeared in a dozen languages, and have won children’s choice awards in numerous states, including twice in California. Bruce is also the founder of Full Cast Audio, an audiobook publishing company devoted to producing full cast, unabridged recordings for family listening.
Pat Cummings is the author/illustrator of over forty books for young readers.  She also edited the award-winning series, Talking With Artists, which profiles prominent children’s book illustrators. Along with her classes at Parsons and Pratt, her annual Children’s Book Boot Camp brings writers and illustrators together with top editors, art directors and agents and have helped launch a growing number of notable picture book illustrator and authors. Pat serves on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Authors League Fund, The Authors Guild Foundation and as the Chair of the Founders Award Jury for the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Show. She is also a member of The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Pat’s latest books include her debut middle grade novel, Trace, from HarperCollins and Where is Mommy?, a picture book from Holiday House.
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal winning author of six young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here and The Living) and two picture books (A Nations Hope and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his family. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.
Emma D Dryden is co-author of the award-winning picture book, What Does it Mean To be an Entrepreneur? (Sourcebooks) and founder of drydenbks, a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm. Emma’s publishing career began at Viking and Random House, and eventually became VP, Publisher of McElderry Books and Atheneum (Simon & Schuster). She’s edited over 1,000 books for children and young readers, many of which have won prestigious awards and appeared on national and international bestseller lists. Under the drydenbks banner she edits children’s books; consults with and coaches authors, illustrators, agents, and foreign publishers; is a creative consultant for children’s eBook, app, and indy publishers; is a writing instructor and workshop speaker; and keeps a blog called “Our Stories, Ourselves” which explores the links between living our lives and creating our art. Visit Emma at her website.  
 TeMika Grooms TeMika Grooms is SCBWI’s U.S. Illustrator Coordinator. She has served as the Illustrator Coordinator for the Southern Breeze Region and as the Regional Team Liaison on the SCBWI Equity and Inclusion Committee. Her most recent illustrated non-fiction book, “Save the Crash-test Dummies” by Jennifer Swanson, was released by Peachtree Publishing in 2019 and she was selected as an Illustration Mentee in the 2021 We Need Diverse Books Program.  Learn more about her work at her website
Ellen Hopkins is a former journalist, poet, and the award-winning author of 20 nonfiction books for children, thirteen NY Times bestselling young adult novels, and four novels for adult readers. Her debut middle grade novel, Closer to Nowhere, publishes October 2020, and she’s excited to navigate new waters. Ellen lives with her extended family, one German shepherd, a rescue cat, and too many fish to mention, near Carson City NV. 
Arthur Levine is the President and Editor-in-Chief of Levine Querido, a vibrant new independent publisher distributed by Chronicle Books. Levine Querido is born of a fervent mission to give voice to a uniquely talented, exceptionally diverse group of authors and artists, a career-long passion of its founder. Launching in August 2020, LQ’s debut list will contain works by Daniel Nayeri, Eric Gansworth, Donna Barba Higuera, Mike Jung, Darcie Little Badger, Donna Freitas, Kristen Mai Giang, Shirley Chan, Martha Brockenbrough and Gabriel Alborozo. Arthur’s life as an author will also reach a milestone with a new picture book in Fall 2020, Nate Gadol and the Hanukkah Magic, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes and published by Candlewick Press. 
Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (a division of Hachette Book Group) where she has worked since 1999. She edits children’s books for all ages, from picture books to young adult. She has edited such books as A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. She Tweets and is on Instagram. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Venus.
Laurent Linn is Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. He collaborates on picture books, middle grade, and teen novels with both celebrated and new illustrators such as Tomie dePaola, Vashti Harrison, and Raúl Colón. He is also the author/illustrator of the critically acclaimed young adult novel, Draw the Line, and is the Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Laurent began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, creating characters for productions including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films, eventually becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets and winning an Emmy Award.
Susan Patron specialized in Children’s Services for 35 years at the Los Angeles Public Library before retiring in 2007, the same year The Higher Power of Lucky was awarded the John Newbery Medal. Translated into a dozen languages, the novel is the first in the Hard Pan Trilogy. Patron and her husband René divide their time between Los Angeles and a cabin in the high desert of the Eastern Sierras.
Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a “crossover” novelist as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Ruta is renowned for giving voice to underrepresented history and those who experienced it. Ruta credits SCBWI for launching her career.
  Melanie Rook Welfing serves as the International Regional Advisor Coordinator for SCBWI. Before that, she was the Regional Advisor for Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) for five years. She writes early readers, chapter books, and graphic novels. In addition, she writes ESL curriculum, including picture books and video scripts, for an educational publisher. Her stories have also appeared in many children’s magazines, including Highlights and Highlights Hello.
Cecilia Yung is executive art director and vice president at Penguin Books for Young Readers where she oversees illustration and design for two imprints, G. P. Putnam’s Sons and Nancy Paulsen Books. She is fortunate to have worked with some of the major illustrators of children’s books, but the highlight of her work is to discover and develop new talent. She is on the Board of Advisors of SCBWI, as well as a member of its Illustrators’ Committee.
Paul O Zelinsky, creator of the now-classic interactive book The Wheels on the Bus, received the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, as well as the Carle Honor for Illustration. Among his other recognitions are one Caldecott Medal (for his retelling of Rapunzel) and three Caldecott Honors. He is known for a breadth and variety of artistic styles, from Beverly Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw to Kelly Bingham’s Z is for Moose, to the Toys series of books with Emily Jenkins. All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, also a collaboration with Jenkins, was given the Sydney Taylor Award in 2019. In addition to his activities with SCBWI, Paul serves as co-chair of PEN America’s Children’s and Young Adult Book Committee. 

Last updated: March, 2022.